So what does happen when churches pray? They begin to experience a revival of the Holy Spirit working through them to be his witnesses with power and boldness! In Acts 1:4-2:4 Jesus commands his disciples and apostles to go wait in Jerusalem until the Promise of the Father, which is the Holy Spirit, comes upon them. Then when it comes they will receive power.
The disciples were obedient to Jesus and there in Jerusalem they waited and prayed for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Ten days later that promise was fulfilled and God's power came through the Holy Spirit.
A church body that wishes to be obedient to the mission that Christ gave us must understand that we are totally unable to to accomplish it threw our own power and strength. The mission is to big and to difficult for us to do on our own. This is a mission that only God can accomplish. It is a mission that requires power that only comes from Heaven.
When a church becomes desperate for God's empowerment that church will begin to pray. As that church prays to God, in his timing, God answers their prayer and provides the Filling of the Holy that provides the Divine power to be his witnesses.
We can learn some things from the disciples about how to pray for this empowerment that the Holy Spirit provides.
First, they were PERSISTENT in their prayers.
The Bible says in Acts 1:14 that they all joined together CONSTANTLY in prayer. Their prayers were constant! They didn't just pray for a little while and then went home. They were persistent in crying out to God to provide the Holy Spirit and his power just as Christ had promised. Their persistence showed that they were desperate for this empowerment. They truly wanted it and they were not going to stop praying until God provided it.
- How desperate are we for God's empowerment?
- How long will be wait and continue to pray for this empowerment?
- Are we putting time limits on God to provide this power?
- And if God does not provide it when we think it should be provided are we going to quit and stop our prayers for it?
God wants us to be so desperate and resolved in waiting on God for this empower from the Holy Spirit that we are determined to not quit or stop in our prayers for it until God provides it. Our prayers need to be desperate and constant for God to empower us.
Second, This was not just persistent prayer but it was a UNITED prayers.
All of the disciples were together praying for it. None of them were willing to leave. They join together in unity, as a body of believers to cry out to God for his empowerment.
Churches that experience God's empowerment are churches that are united together in their prayers to God for it. It requires more than just a hand full of church members crying out to God for it. It requires that whole church, in one accord, asking God for it. How committed as a whole church family are we in seeking God's power through the Holy Spirit.
In order for this kind of commitment and unity to happen churches, as a whole body, need to be broken and humbled before the living God. They need to put away their own agenda's, their own goals and seek only what God is doing. When a church is broken and humbled then they are ready to be melted and formed into the usable vessel that God desires.
Third, These disciples offered their supplications before the Lord.
In other words they were begging God to provide what he had promised. They were truly desperate for his empowerment.
- Do we beg God?
- Are we crying out to God?
Here is an interesting thought! These followers didn't just talk about prayer, they actually prayed! Church we need to do more praying and less talking about prayer. We need to actually come before the thrown of God's grace and stop just talking about doing it. The power comes not when we talk about it but when we actually pray for it.
And when God answered their prayer it came with POWER from HEAVEN. Not earthly power. Not man made power. But it came with Heavenly power.
The power effected everyone who was there. It wasn't just a few that got touched. Everyone present was affected by it. This is a good reason why Christians should make it a priority to constantly participate in the prayer vigils of their church. Because when the power comes you don't want to miss it.
The power came through the Filling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of the Living God didn't just come to live in them but to also live through them. The power of God is the presence of God, through the Holy Spirit, living his life through us. God's power is God himself! To receive the power of God is to have an experience with God himself.
All who were there and who were filled with the Holy Spirit began to witness about Christ and 3,000 people were saved and baptized. Now that is something that only God can do! But it is also something that God can still do through us if we are willing to be a church that prays for God's empowerment.